Monday, April 19, 2010

the mostest-amazingest-talented-never-makes-the-same-recipe-twice-and-they-all taste-great-cook

Edited to add: Blogger is making the spaceing all wonky on this post. Sorry! I can't seem to fix it - anyone else having troubles too? So it may look like jumbled mess, but just read on through, it really is a great post :)

Today's post is a wonderful Q&A with a dear friend "G" -the mostest-amazingest-talented-never-makes-the-same-recipe-twice-and-they-all taste-great-cook. He was the one who made the Death by Chocolate that I recreated in this post. Two words about that dessert: EASY and HEAVENLY!

After posting the death by chocolate recipe, I asked my friend if he would be willing to do a guest post for us in Q&A form. And so today I am so thrilled to share some cooking inspiration and a simple, yummy recipe for broccoli salad from "G", who is a wonderful example of hospitality and a great cook!

One of his meals htat I was blessed to taste: tangy chicken, fresh rosemary sweet potatoes and potatoes, broccoli salad, and a death by chocolate {not pictured}. It was SO good!

When did you start cooking?

I started cooking in my Sophomore year of HS, when my Mom went back to work and was getting tired of my Dad's atempts of dinner; pancakes, eggs, toasted cheese/tomato soup. All good in their own ways, but NOT all the time.

Why is it important to open our homes and invite people to share a meal {simple or elegant} with us?
I'm a one-on-one person and believe it or shy in nature! In large settings when/where I don't know folks, it is hard for me, so I bring them to my place where it is warm and inviting for both of us. All conversations begin/end around food.
 Why do you think that fellowship and connections are made deeper around the dinner table?
I think folks are more "at home" in a home setting, so easier to open up and share. The more they are in a person's home, the more comfortable they feel and so open up and share their reals selves, as I do too.
 How do go about planning a meal for company? Are there certain staples that you always try to include?
Once I decide who I want to have come, then I ask if they have likes or dislikes and/or food allergies. I want their entire experience to be good. Myself, I hate going someplace and having something I hate, but with good manners, choke it down. When I entertain, the majority of the menu is/are new recipes. I have been cooking along enough, I know what sounds good together. My menus always include; main dish, salad, fruit, bread, dessert PLUS drinks before and after. Important to have a full course, as folks today don't take the time to have an entire meal.
 What are a few tips to make a simple meal look special – like it took hours to prepare?
100% it is all in the presentation. For example, if a cake falls or is a bit brown, then extra frosting or extra dusting of powder sugar, or fresh flowers. What dish/platter it is served on makes a difference too. Food is visual, so you want it to "look" good enough to eat. If it taste good, then you have a double whammie! lol
 What has been your all time favorite dish to make in the summer?
Honestly, I don't have a summer/winter/spring/fall dish. I'm not bound by seasons, if I find a interesting soup and it is summer, then I make it, Also, if I find an interesting "summer" salad in the winter, then I make that too.

Why do you never repeat a recipe?
There are endless recipes out there - why be tied down with limits?
{and may I add that he even tries out new recipes when having company over! the courage that man has!}

Are there any tried and true family favorites that you will repeat? {…and no, we won’t hound you for the recipes hee hee!}
Yes, I have several family recipes such as: Lynda Grassle yeast rolls (called that, as that is the lady who gave Mom the recipe), Lemon Squares (required at all family gatherings), Mississippi Mud (chocolate brownies), Toll House Brownies, and Daigle Taco Salad. Daigle family recipes, I don't give out.
 If there was one tip you could give to beginner cooks, what would it be?
Two tips: 1) Don't be afraid to try something new and 2) set a nice table with what you have. You can always build on it. Yard sales and/or garage sales are good places to find old platters, bowls, linen, etc.
{also, he recently asked me to add this tip: make sure to not mix up the salt and sugar. He made this mistake early on in the cooking years and instead of a cake, came out with a salt lick!}
And even though he said he would not share a prized family recipe, he did cave in and share a family favorite: broccoli salad. I hope you try it out:
Broccoli Salad
1 large head of broccoli - flowerette/raw

1/2c raisins

1/4c red onion choppped

1/2 jar bacon bits
3/4c peanuts
1c mayo
1/2c sugar
2T oil
Mix well and toss to coat.
Note from "G": make fresh the day whenever possible. Keeps the broccoli and onion fresh and crunchy.

Easy and soooo tasty. I know. I was there and tasted it :) yum!

Thanks "G" for giving us some inspiration for the kitchen!
Looking forward to the next guest post.

How have you used food to impact someone's life? {{and I don't mean impact their thighs and waist line! ha!}} Do you enjoy having friends and family join around your table for food and fellowship?

All photos taken by yours truly.


  1. Okay, so I can't say it enough, but I just LOVE the Death By Chocolate! Just sayin'! LOL! What a great interview!

    Unfortunately, My Love works late most nights and the kids are already in bed when he gets home. But, when he is home, we definitely try to do a family at the table dinner thing. Well...when the table is cleared off that is! HA! I do love when extended family and friends come over! The joy of talking and laughter that fills my home is just a blessing in itself!

  2. Hi, Emily-Friend! I LOVE to have people over, and we do it mostly in the summer (because of my dh's hectic teaching schedule during the school year; aside from having students over, that is!). I am like "G" in that I am much more comfortable with people when they're in my home, and since I love to cook and bake...well, I do it as much as we're able!
    I just loved "G"s answers...I can totally relate. I even try out new recipes on our guests, lol. :-)
    Happy Monday!

  3. My husband and I have used a delicios bread ring, which some people call Monkey Bread. We renamed it the Friendship Ring. It is a bunt pan bread, coated with cinamon, and garnished with almonds and marchino cherries. We put a red candle in the middle (to color coordinate with the cherries.) Before eating the bread, we share that the bread balls that have stuck together while baking, represent our frindship and that fact that we need one another. The candle in the middle represents the light of Christ, which unites us. This bread is so elegant,tasty, but best of all, impacts and strengthens our frindship.

    Em's mom, Phyllis